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Several injured in India election rally

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NEW DELHI, India (AP) Rival political supporters yesterday clashed with rocks and sticks during an election rally by the Hindu nationalist party in eastern India, leaving several people injured and a university college vandalised.

Police say they used sticks to disperse the rivals as West Bengal state prepared for the seventh and final round of voting for 543 parliamentary seats in India’s national elections on Sunday.

Several motorbikes and bicycles were set on fire, police said.

A big street procession, led by Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, was greeted with black flags by rivals who chanted “Shah Go Back.” That triggered clashes between the two groups.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, a lawmaker member of the regional Trinamool Congress, said the BJP supporters also damaged the statue of a state educator, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

Police arrested 100 workers belonging to both parties after the clash, the New Delhi Television news channel reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP is seeking re-election in the national election. Voting will be completed on May 19 and votes counted four days later.

Yesterday, top BJP leaders Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi met Election Commission officials in New Delhi and demanded strict security arrangements to prevent violence in the state. They blamed rival Trinamool Congress party workers for violence.

Naqvi accused Mamta Banerjee, the top elected official of the state, with provoking her Trinamool Congress party workers to attack the BJP supporters. Banerjee denied the accusation.

The BJP is trying to improve its tally in West Bengal state, the stronghold of the Trinamool Congress party which controls 34 of 42 parliamentary seats. The BJP won only two parliamentary seats from the state in the 2014 national elections.

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Bomb blast hits tourist bus near Egypt pyramids, injuring 17

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GIZA, Egypt (AFP) — A bomb blast hit a tourist bus near Egypt’s famed Giza pyramids on Sunday, wounding at least 17 people, including South Africans, in the latest blow to the country’s tourism industry.

 The roadside bomb went off as the bus was being driven in Giza, also causing injuries to Egyptians in a nearby car, medical and security sources said.

 There were no deaths reported.

 “A device exploded and smashed the windows of a bus carrying 25 people from South Africa and a private car carrying four Egyptians,” the security source said.

Video footage captured by AFP showed the bus and car with broken windows on the side of the road.

According to the security source, the wounded were being treated for scratches caused by the broken glass.

Ndivhuwo Mabaya, spokesman for South Africa’s department of international relations, told AFP that “there might be South Africans involved” but declined to give any figures.

Sunday’s incident comes after three Vietnamese holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide were killed when a roadside bomb hit their bus as it travelled near the Giza pyramids outside Cairo in December.

It also comes just little more than a month before the African Cup of Nations hosted by Egypt is to kick off.

 Egypt has been battling an insurgency that surged especially in the turbulent North Sinai region following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was replaced by former army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

 In February 2018, the army launched a nationwide operation against militants, focusing mainly on the North Sinai region.

Some 650 militants and around 45 soldiers have been killed since the start of the offensive, according to separate statements by the armed forces.

Since first being elected in 2014, Sisi has presented himself as a bulwark against terrorism, promising stability and increased security.

Recently, the country’s vital tourism industry has started to slowly rebound after suffering strong blows due to deadly attacks targeting tourists following the turmoil of the 2011 uprising that toppled long time ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Figures by the official statistics agency showed that tourist arrivals reached 8.3 million in 2017, compared with 5.3 million the previous year.

Authorities have gone at great lengths to lure tourists back, touting a series of archaeological finds and a new museum next to the pyramids, as well as enhanced security at airports and around ancient sites.

 But that figure was still far short of the record influx of 2010 when more than 14 million visitors flocked to see the country’s sites.

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Is charity the new publicity stunt?

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Dear Editor, 

Recently, a famous dancehall entertainer lashed out at an Instagram follower who criticised one of her posts. 

In this particular video post, we see the entertainer delivering clothes and appliances to a needy family in Jamaica. The follower expressed that some people seem to be doing “things for fame” as their acts of charity are often posted on social media. Not surprisingly, she was subsequently hurled with some “bloody-bamboo” cloth for her comment. 

In a follow-up post, the entertainer explained that the items were donated by a number of people. Consequently, it was necessary to publicise their delivery so that the “people who donated their money can see [that] the stuff went to the people.” 

Certainly, I applaud people, such as this entertainer, for generously giving to those in need. Such an act is commendable, and many of us should really follow suit. However, like her follower, I am not always comfortable with the broadcasting of charitable acts. 

Last Christmas, I saw the showcasing of many similar charities. Several of my social media “friends,” for example, presented boxes of food to the homeless. Their kindness was heartening, but something about their doing was deeply off-putting.  

Some of these people presented the food in a manner quite akin to one presenting certificates at an award ceremony. 

They outstretched the food boxes with one hand, extended the other for a handshake, paused in position and smiled for the camera. The pictures were then plastered all over their Instagram and Facebook pages. Now, what is the real reason for doing all this? Who truly benefits? 

Growing up, I speculated that my mother gave away many of our outgrown clothes. They just disappeared. In fact, one day, I even saw a little girl in a dress resembling one I owned. However, I could only have assumed that it was mine as Mum kept all the recipients secret.

She feared that we would have flapped our mouths about these persons or worse, jeer the children for wearing “second hand”. Therefore, I learnt from very early that people may be very poor and needy, but they still have their pride. Allow people the privacy to enjoy what you give them.

Nobody wants to be on the road and constantly pointed at and talked about because he or she was broadcast on social media as a charity beneficiary. 

Please, continue to give, but you do not need to make a show of this. Charity should never be a social or political ploy. 

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock

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12-y-o Tameica Parry reported missing

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — A High Alert has been activated for 12-year-old Tameica Parry, student of Fairview Avenue, Kingston 11 who has been missing since Saturday, May 18.

Tameica is of dark complexion, slim build and is about 5 feet 3 inches tall.

Reports are that Tameica was last seen at home. Her mode of dress at the time she went missing is unknown. 

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Tameica is being asked to contact the Olympic Gardens Police at 876-923-5468, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

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